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National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month | Coping With Behaviors

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
11/09/11  7:02 PM PST

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can cause a person to act in unpredictable ways. Some individuals with Alzheimer’s become anxious or aggressive. Others repeat certain questions or gestures. 

These types of reactions can lead to misunderstanding, frustration and tension, particularly between the person with dementia and the caregiver. It’s important to be tolerant and understand that the person is not acting that way on purpose.

The most common behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s are aggression, anxiety, confusion, repetition, suspicion, wandering and trouble with sleep.

10 quick tips for responding to behaviors:

  1. Remain flexible, patient and calm
  2. Explore whether pain or discomfort is a possible trigger
  3. Respond to the emotion, not the behavior
  4. Don’t argue or try to convince
  5. Use memory aids
  6. Acknowledge requests and respond to them
  7. Look for the reasons behind each behavior
  8. Consult a physician to identify any causes related to medications or illness
  9. Don’t take the behavior personally
  10. Share your experiences with others

Additional resources and tools for caregivers are available at alz.org 

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